No plea by ex-cop in drug bust
Name suppression not a right
Drugs trial will be complex
Domestic assault serious problem in CI
Disabled woman left traumatised by rape
Bank employee stole from ATM
Fisheries officer to be sentenced
Police officer to face retrial
Precedent-setting case back to court
Vaka TV dispute decision reserved
No plea by ex-cop in drug bust
Former New Zealand detective inspector Mark Franklin (left) in 2004 with then Cook Islands police commissioner Pira Wichman.
Former New Zealand police detective inspector Mark Franklin is facing four charges in the Cook Islands of selling the class C drug cannabis and possessing cannabis for sale or supply.
His charges are in relation to alleged incidents at Rarotonga between November 23, 2010 and April 6 this year.
Franklin (54), now calls himself a consultant and lives in Nikao.
He left the Cook Islands for New Zealand on Monday to receive medical treatment.
His bail conditions allow him to travel to New Zealand for treatment, although he has had to lodge $5000 with the Cook Islands High Court as security of his return to the country.
Franklin is one of 13 men and women arrested and on bail for charges laid under Operation Eagle the largest Cook Islands police investigation of any kind.
Interim name suppression for all accused except one lapsed yesterday.
A woman Tina Upu pleaded guilty to the one charge she faces earlier this month and her interim name suppression was lifted at that time.
When Franklin first appeared in the court on May 5 he had no legal representation.
Since then he has been represented by Cook Islands lawyer Norman George, who represents others charged under Operation Eagle.
Franklin has now instructed top Auckland solicitor Barry Hart.
He is next due to appear in the court on June 30, unless his medical treatment in New Zealand prevents this.
In that case he must organise an alternative date with the court for his next appearance.
He has not entered any plea to the charges he faces.
Franklin has lived in the Cook Islands for about six years.
His partner is a Cook Islander and Franklin frequently performs at various venues on
Rarotonga as a singer and musician.
Franklin was first asked to come to the Cook Islands to review a police investigation into the death of Arorangi man John Chambers.
At the time he was a detective inspector in New Zealand.
A police report on the Chambers homicide prepared by then senior sergeant Tere Patia in 1997 was reviewed by Franklin, and that led to a suspect being charged.
The accused was eventually found not guilty.
Franklin was again contracted to work for the Cook Islands police on several serious fraud cases, including Operation Slush.
That trial involved corruption charges against three men, including independent MP and lawyer Norman George.
All three were cleared of the charges.
Franklin was also involved in the case against a former minister of police, which resulted in the former ministers conviction, as well as an investigation into the conduct of former Cook Islands Tourism Corporation chief executive Chris Wong.
He worked for the Cook Islands police for five years until December 2010, when his contract was terminated due to his medical condition.
For a time Franklin served in the New Zealand police force as a detective sergeant based in Northland.
Name suppression not a right
Issues of name suppression and media coverage for the court case resulting from Operation Eagle were debated at length in the Cook Islands High Court at Avarua yesterday.
Bail applications for seven of the 13 accused, media applications for still photography and film, as well as applications for continued interim name suppression of all but one accused were considered by Justice Hugh Williams.
After almost three hours of discussion all accused were granted bail subject to varying conditions, media applications for photographic coverage were granted subject to conditions, and the interim suppression of all accused names was lifted.
Present at the court was Television New Zealand (TVNZ) Pacific correspondent Barbara Dreaver and a cameraman, three Cook Islands Television reporters with a video camera, Cook Islands Television news director Trevor Pitt, and the Cook Islands News.
Before hearing applications Justice Williams asked for the TVNZ cameraman to be brought into the courtroom from where he was filming outside.
He was made to erase the footage he had filmed while the court waited.
Filming on private property, and this is private property even though the public has access to it, can amount to contempt of court and persons who commit contempt of court can be jailed, Justice Williams said.
Crown prosecutor Catherine Evans did not oppose the photographing and filming of accused, providing images and footage is only used in relation to the case.
Defence counsel Lavenia Rokoika, representing accused Scott Arlander, said applications for photographs should be considered in line with applications involving interim name suppression.
She opposed the lifting of name suppression and cited the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.
Arlander faces eight charges but has no previous convictions.
If name suppression is not granted surely there will be a trial by media.
Rokoika suggested name suppression should be continued until no further charges were laid and all police investigation had finished, or until a time when accused pleaded guilty or were found guilty.
Justice Williams said if further analysis of evidence proved charges to be baseless those charges would have to be withdrawn in an open court.
Fellow defence counsel Norman George opposed the applications by media, as well as the lifting of name suppression.
We are just all out saying no, no, no, George said.
His reasons for continued interim name suppression included the ongoing analysis of evidence, the lack of previous convictions for most of his eight clients, and because the Cook Islands is a small community.
Its essential that we wait until the information is collectively and completely obtained, thats why weve been unable to enter pleas. One is anonymous in a big city even if the name is released and the chance of knowing any of the jury will be slim to none.
It will be dangerous to release the names and expect a fair jury trial. With continued name suppression, uncertainty will at least provide some sort of safety net.
Defence counsel Charles Petero said his client Mere King had no objection to photographs and footage being taken.
My client is not really worried about the name suppression issue because the public already knows pretty much who everyone is and so we are not worried about photographs, Petero said.
Justice Williams said the court had no power to stop the accused being photographed in public once bailed, regardless of his ruling in respect of applications.
Interim name suppression was due to expire yesterday for all but one accused, who had already been publicly named after pleading guilty to the charge she faced.
Evans said interim name suppression should not be continued in the interests of justice in accordance with the provision of open justice, and because the Cook Islands constitution includes in article 64 an internationally-accepted provision for the freedom of thought, speech and expression.
Evans said that should be balanced against the right of individuals to have some level of privacy but that there was no law in the Cook Islands in respect of privacy.
Evans cited the Official Information Act 2008 and said the initial reasons for the crown not opposing name suppression are no longer valid.
When first arrested and charged defendants needed time to alert their families and employers to the situation, but that time has long since lapsed she said.
Name suppression is a privilege not a right and its time for the name suppression order to be lifted.
Evans said the absence of pleas to charges does not provide grounds for continuing interim name suppression, and further suppression of names will continue to cast suspicion on innocent members of the community.
Justice Williams said the case had triggered a significant amount of public interest, both in the Cook Islands and overseas.
He said potential jurors would have to know the names of the accused in order for the selection process to be fair, and the Cook Islands community was no different in respect of jury
selection for trials in small towns such as Greymouth, Timaru, and Gisborne in New Zealand.
It still has to be managed as best the courts can. Theres force in Mr Georges submission that there might be difficulty in selecting an impartial jury in due course from an eligible jury panel in a community as small as Rarotonga but as pointed out thats a problem which arises in many small communities where inevitably a large number of people involved know a sizeable portion of the population.
Although its a fact not without weight its not an overwhelming factor in circumstances such as this.
Justice Williams also based his decision to decline continued interim name suppression on the principles of open justice, freedom of thought, speech and expression, and medias role
as a surrogate for the general public.
He said jurors, once selected, were conscientious about their need to be impartial and as the Operation Eagle case is not likely to be heard during 2011 the lifting of name suppression
now is not such an influencing factor.
He said the charges were considered serious in the Cook Islands context and it was unrealistic for name suppression to continue in the instance charges were withdrawn.
Its a big operation in local terms and one of significant size to attract the interest of media outside the country. In New Zealand where the orders for suppression did not apply there has been publicity involving the name of at least one of the accused.
Justice Williams said it was difficult to maintain the integrity of suppression orders in a world where internet and social networking websites based outside of countries, but accessible within countries, are not subject to those orders.
To an extent maintenance of the suppression orders in this case would be futile. There will inevitably be an amount of tittle-tattle alive in the community and that casts a pall of suspicion.
He said suspicion about the accused is likely to lessen between now and the time of trial if names are made public.
Theres no basis made out for continuing orders for interim suppression of name for any of the accused. Some of them have accepted the inevitability of publication.
Drugs trial will be complex
It is unlikely any trial of those accused under Operation Eagle will be held this year.
There are logistical difficulties facing any trial of Operation Eagle defendants, due to the number of accused, number of charges, and doubt over whether an impartial jury can be found within the Cook Islands.
In total 13 men and women are collectively facing 70 charges and there is a possibility more will be laid following analysis of evidence.
Justice Hugh Williams yesterday discussed procedural issues in respect of those arrested, with crown prosecutors and defence counsel in the Cook Islands High Court at Avarua.
Crown prosecutor Catherine Evans says evidence and specific details of the case may be kept secret in order not to compromise the ability of potential jurors to be impartial if the case goes to trial.
Names of the defendants should be made public and charges made public. Any other details in relation to the case for example snippets of fact or some evidence may, by being published in the newspaper, interfere with the ability of an impartial jury being selected if any of the defendants decide to elect trial by judge and jury.
There hasnt been a lot of information in the media about details in the case because that hasnt been released, Evans said.
It is not yet known whether individual accused will be tried separately, with co-accused where charges are jointly laid, or as part of a wider trial addressing all accused.
Evans said although Operation Eagle has been effectively terminated by the Cook Islands police, analysis of evidence is ongoing.
Phone records and other evidence including cannabis leaf samples is being analysed in New Zealand, she said.
The crown has disclosed all disclosure that crown has at this point to defence counsel but theres still some disclosure that needs to occur. The next step in this process (is) perhaps an adjournment to a call-over date for monitoring of disclosure.
The return of evidence from New Zealand and disclosure of that to counsel I would expect that it would be by the end of June if not sooner.
Evans said she would prefer all disclosure to be made to all parties before it is decided whether the case will involve one or more trials.
Pleas have yet to be entered for most of the charges, and in some instances this is because defendants are not aware of the entirety of evidence against them.
Evans said if all accused were subject to the same trial it could take two or three weeks.
The number of witnesses and whether they have to travel from New Zealand to give evidence will factor in to how long a trial may take, she said.
Its going to be quite complex.
Justice Williams said usually cases such as this one change as a hearing approaches with charges being amended or withdrawn, and others laid.
He said with different judges from New Zealand presiding over the Cook Islands High Court it was difficult to maintain continuity in complex cases such as Operation Eagle, and that may be a consideration for the court if a trial or trials are scheduled.
He said a trial of two or three weeks may require parliamentary intervention to allow for one judge to hear the entire proceedings and to accommodate jurors.
Evans said there were six jury trials yet to be heard in the court, the eldest of which dates to January and February last year.
Priority is generally given to the oldest trials when scheduling and Operation Eagle is therefore not likely to be considered this year, she said.
Its quite logistically difficult.
Justice Williams said priority may be accorded to Operation Eagle due to the large number of accused and the charges they collectively face.
He said most charges relate to cannabis, although some are for the class A drug known as LSD or acid.
Other charges relate to bribery, conspiracy, and the attempted perversion of the course of justice.
I suggest it could be helpful if I report it to the chief justice so hes aware of the kind of logistical problems that may occur in relation to this matter. I will speak to the registrar as well.
All but one accused, who will be sentenced on June 3, are to next appear in the court on June 30.
Domestic assault serious problem in CI
After hearing that he would go to jail once convicted a repeat offender changed his plea to not guilty before Justice of the Peace John Kenning in the Cook Islands High Court at Avarua yesterday.
Tali Ofa (27), Mike Rennie Builders Ltd worker, of Takuvaine, is charged with (being a male) assaulting a female at Takuvaine on April 9.
The victim is his current partner and Ofa has previously been convicted of assaulting her.
In total he has 14 previous convictions, four of which are for assaulting females.
Ofas convictions include assaults on his wife, from whom he is now separated.
He was previously acquitted on a separate charge of assaulting a female.
Ofa also has convictions for common assault and driving while intoxicated.
Many of his convictions are for breaching probation and community service.
He has previously received a custodial sentence.
At Ofas last court appearance, under the guidance of defence counsel Wilkie Rasmussen, he vacated an initial plea of not guilty and admitted the charge.
He appeared before JP Kenning for sentence yesterday and was told a custodial term was inevitable.
JP Kenning said Ofa did not seem to care and a fine was not appropriate, nor was probation considering his tendency to breach orders.
Ofa then addressed the court from the dock saying she smashed me up big time, what was I supposed to do.
After a brief adjournment he sought to vacate his guilty plea and again deny the charge.
That was granted by JP Kenning and Ofa was remanded on continued bail to June 9 for a call over.
Rasmussen said he would not continue to represent Ofa.
I think Ive done my best. If he pursues trial then thats a matter for him to sort out.
In his submissions for sentencing Rasmussen said Ofa was provoked by his partner during the incident, which resulted in him punching her on the face with a closed fist.
She hit him three times over the head with a beer bottle when he was asleep, provoking him to get angry and he retaliated.
Rasmussen submitted the dispute was fuelled by alcohol and exacerbated by the lateness of the evening.
He said Ofa had started a new life, was in love with his partner, and should be sentenced in a way which enabled his rehabilitation.
Ofa is the sole provider for his family although his dependants do not include children.
I realise Im climbing an uphill battle because of his record. If he appears before the court on the same charge again he should be sent to jail for not two months but two years as the maximum penalty, Rasmussen said.
The victim suffered a cut on the inside of her lip and superficial abrasions on her legs.
Police prosecutor Senior Sergeant Ruth Hosking-Tane said Ofa refused to sign a statement, was uncooperative, and denied the alleged assault when first apprehended by police.
She said Ofa had not been deterred by his previous convictions and did not take responsibility for his actions.
Domestic assault is a serious problem in the Cook Islands, Snr Sgt Hosking-Tane said.
She recommended Ofa be jailed for two months and made to undergo any counselling, programmes, or workshops deemed appropriate by the Arorangi prison superintendent.
Ofa has been advised to appoint legal representation before his June 9 appearance in the court.
Daniel Ataera (39), groundsman, of Arorangi, admitted (being a male) assaulting a female at Kavera between May 17 and 18.
He was further remanded on bail to June 16 for sentencing.
A probation report has been ordered.
Theft as a servant:
Former Cook Islands police officer Moe Pirangi (41), unemployed, of Arorangi, will next appear in the court on June 9 on one charge of stealing from the police while he was an officer between December 29, 2010 and January 1 this year.
Yesterday defence counsel Charles Petero withdrew as Pirangis legal representative.
Pirangi, who initially denied the charge but pleaded guilty under the guidance of Petero, said he has appointed Norman George as his defence counsel.
He again denies the charge and was further remanded on bail.
Pokura Willie Marsters (38), self-employed, of Nikao, denies two charges of dangerous driving and driving with an excess breath alcohol level of 610 micrograms at Panama on March 8, 2010.
Defence counsel Wilkie Rasmussen said there are technical points Marsters wants to challenge and seeks trial by a JP.
A defended hearing for the case is expected to take one day and Rasmussen said he needs one month to prepare.
Marsters was further remanded on bail to June 23 for a trial date to be set.
Okotai Rongo (18), landscaper, of Arorangi, admitted one charge of driving with an excess blood alcohol level of 245.5 milligrams at Nikao on January 23.
He has a previous conviction for drink-driving and was further remanded on bail to June 9 for sentencing.
A probation report has been ordered.
Rangitai Nia (26), chef, of Ngatangiia, admitted two charges of dangerous driving and driving with an excess blood alcohol level of 148.5 milligrams at Avarua on May 14.
Nia was caught by police driving in the opposite direction to traffic on the main road at Avarua about 2.50am.
She was convicted and fined a total of $550, ordered to pay total court costs of $60, and reparation of $150 for medical analyst fees.
Nia was also disqualified from driving and holding a drivers licence for 12 months and was ordered to surrender her drivers licence to the court.
Exham George (20), carpenter, of Turangi, admitted one charge of breaking into and entering a Sunrise Beach
Bungalow unit with intent to commit a crime at Turangi on May 15.
Defence counsel Charles Petero asked for the matter to be adjourned for sentencing before three JPs on June 15 and for a probation report to be ordered.
George had been in custody for two weeks and Petero asked for him to be remanded on bail subject to conditions, including an order for him not to have any contact with an alleged co-accused.
JP Kenning granted Peteros applications as stated.
George also has a 7pm to 7am curfew.
Autea Nelio (47), unemployed, of Pue, did not enter a plea to one charge of wilfully damaging two glass windows and a door valued at $1054 at Pue on May 10.
He was further remanded on bail to June 9 to appoint legal representation.
For his third conviction of being unlawfully found Japhet Manuel (26), unemployed, of Titikaveka, escaped a recommended jail term.
A probation report and prosecution submissions, which took into account a psychiatric report, recommended Manuel be jailed for three months.
It is the maximum penalty for a charge of being unlawfully found on a property.
Two of Manuels convictions for such offending relate to the same complainants, at Titikaveka.
JP Kenning said he did not think there was any alternative but to send Manuel to jail. However following submissions by Manuels mother, JP Kenning agreed a non-custodial sentence will enable Manuels rehabilitation.
Im concerned about his mental state and whilst prison is the recommended option from both police and probation Ive a doubt as to whether its the appropriate place for him in his current condition.
Manuels mother told the court that his behaviour is improving, he claims to have stopped consuming cannabis, and only drinks alcohol now and then.
Manuel was convicted and sentenced to 12 months probation, with an order for him to spend the first three months undertaking community service.
He must live with either his mother or father, is not to purchase or consume alcohol or enter liquor licensed premises, and is not to use illicit drugs.
You are being given a very good opportunity to make a better life for yourself. If you dont take it, you know what the consequence is its imprisonment.
Daniel Hewitt (20), unemployed, of Tutakimoa has been released from jail after being discharged without conviction for two charges of breaching probation.
Hewitt last appeared in the court on April 28 before Justice of the Peace Bernice Manarangi, who further remanded him in custody for one month due to his mental health.
It was decided a custodial term under the monitoring and supervision of a doctor was in Hewitts best interests and for his own safety.
Yesterday crown prosecutor Tuaine Manavaroa said a medical report on Hewitt shows he is not capable of entering a plea to criminal charges and therefore he sought discharge without conviction.
One charge was for consuming alcohol and another was for being abroad during curfew.
JP Kenning said it is important Hewitt continues to take his medication and does not consume alcohol or cannabis.
I cant order that as a condition of your discharge but you need to be aware of the dangers that are exposed in your condition.
Disabled woman left traumatised by rape
For raping a disabled woman in her own home at Aitutaki earlier this year a 46-year-old man was jailed for three and a half years by Justice Hugh Williams in the Cook Islands High Court at Avarua yesterday.
Charlie Teina, unemployed, of Aitutaki, admitted a charge of rape at Aitutaki on January 22, when he appeared in the court in February.
He was not represented by a lawyer yesterday but had an advocate in the court to speak for him.
Justice Williams asked Teina whether he was okay about going ahead with sentencing without legal representation, to which Teina replied yes.
A lengthy report advocating for Teina had been lodged with the court by another friend and Justice Williams said that was very helpful because it set out Teinas personal history.
Justice Williams said on
January 22 Teina drank a dozen cans of bourbon and coke at a friends home before going to a bar where he drank more alcohol.
You made a nuisance of yourself by asking women for sex. Later on, drunk, probably very drunk, you went around the island searching for somewhere where a woman lived where you could have sex.
Having identified this ladys house you took off all your clothes and went into the house and searched through it
until you found her in
Williams said the victim awoke to find Teina on top of her, naked.
She struggled with Teina but he persisted for at least half an hour.
She says she thinks it was only because she was strong that she wasnt worse harmed than she was. Unsurprisingly
shes been thoroughly traumatised by what you did to her that night.
Shes had to alter her lifestyle in a major way and it cant be doubted that what you did to her that night brought about very serious consequences as far as shes concerned.
Justice Williams said Teina may not have known the woman was disabled at the time and although that is unlikely given the tiny Aitutaki community he gave Teina the benefit of the doubt.
Teina has at least three previous convictions.
In January 2005 he was convicted of assault with intent to injure and sentenced to five months jail, which he served working on the roads in Aitutaki.
In March 2009 Teina was convicted of theft and sentenced to three months jail, again served by working on roads in Aitutaki.
He was further convicted and sentenced in September 2009 for burglary and spent a five month jail term working on Aitutakis roads.
A probation report on Teina says his family was poor and he did not receive a good education.
For a number of years now youve lived without much in the way of family support, Justice Williams said.
He said the psychological and psychiatric assessments within the probation report are very helpful.
It shows that you are a person of limited capacity, limited understanding, limited intelligence and thats a fact that needs to be taken into account to decide what sentence should be imposed on you. For a number of years you lived a very isolated role in the Aitutaki community and you have taken to drinking probably as a result.
Teina is a strong member of the Mormon church in Aitutaki and is fortunate to have some community support, Justice Williams said.
Despite this he said Teina invaded the victims home which is supposed to be a place of safety for her, and fuelled by alcohol he abused her while she was vulnerable.
The suggestion that you again be sentenced to work on the roads is not appropriate. Rapists in the Cook Islands go to jail just as rapists in any other civilised country in the world go to jail and in any country that respects the rights of all its citizens, particularly women and children.
Crown prosecutor Catherine Evans said the maximum penalty for rape is 14 years imprisonment.
She said there are limited community-based organisations to deal with people like Teina in the Cook Islands and a non-custodial sentence would not address the severity of his offending.
Teina went into her home uninvited and took advantage of her vulnerability, she said.
Evans suggested a jail term of three years and eight months.
Justice Williams said because Teina has limited intelligence and brain power he probably did not understand everything he had to say about the case in sentencing, but trusts Teinas advocate will explain things further.
A lot of what I have to say has to be said in any case even if the person being sentenced doesnt fully understand it.
Bank employee stole from ATM
A young Westpac bank employee stole money from the automatic teller machine (ATM) and stashed it under his mattress, the High Court at Avarua heard.
For stealing money from the ATM while an employee of the bank, the young man was convicted by Justice Hugh Williams in the Cook Islands High Court at Avarua on Friday.
Cedric Toru Junior (22) had previously admitted one charge of theft as a servant laid in relation to an incident at Avarua on June 18, 2009 when he was employed by the Westpac bank in Rarotonga.
Defence counsel Norman George asked for Toru Jnr to be discharged without conviction because he is a skilled sportsman, has no previous convictions, and is from a proud and prominent family in the Cook Islands.
Toru Jnrs mother is a senior member of staff at the Cook Islands Westpac branch.
Theres shame and remorse on the part of the defendant and this family.
The mother is a long-standing senior officer of the bank and continues to work at the bank and the father is a senior officer in a top finance institution in this country.
Both were in the court to support their son.
George said Toru Jnr is still young enough to possibly play for the national rugby league and union teams in New Zealand and a conviction could hinder this.
Toru Jnr participated in the world youth soccer qualifiers and the world cup under 19 rugby tournaments.
The money he stole was retrieved from underneath his bed mattress the next day.
His employment with Westpac was terminated immediately but Toru remained in the Cook Islands while awaiting apprehension by police.
After a few months he moved to New Zealand and got another job.
He now lives and works in Hamilton.
Toru Jnr returned to the Cook Islands this year to answer a charge laid against him in respect of the 2009 theft.
In travelling to Rarotonga and admitting the charge Toru Jnr was more cooperative than what could be expected, George said.
This is something of a record. If you do the wrong thing, come back and face the music like a real man.
He asked Justice Williams to give Toru Jnr credit for his responsible attitude.
Police prosecutor Senior Sergeant Ruth Hosking-Tane said it would be appropriate to convict Toru Jnr and order him to come up for sentence if called upon within 12 months, but Justice Williams said given Toru Jnr lives and works in New Zealand that is not desirable.
The maximum penalty for charges of theft as a servant is five years imprisonment.
Justice Williams said if Toru Jnr faced a charge of common theft he may have considered discharge without conviction, but said charges of theft as a servant are far more serious.
Its clear that apart from this lapse youve lived a useful life in the community both here and in New Zealand and are quite an outstanding sportsperson but you gave into temptation and took the money.
This is serious offending and a serious abuse of trust.
Justice Williams said it is necessary for the public to have confidence in the banking system and for customers to know their money is safe with the security systems put in place by banks.
Even though you are remorseful, even though you havent offended in the two years since this occurred, and even though you and your family have been very cooperative in answering and
acknowledging your responsibility, you are a thief even though you are a thief on only one occasion.
You are a thief from a bank which makes it significantly more serious and in my view the only appropriate course to follow is to convict you.
Justice Williams said given all the mitigating circumstances it was not appropriate to impose any sentence upon Toru Jnr, other than a conviction.
Fisheries officer to be sentenced
Ministry of Marine Resources fisheries officer Koroa Raumea will be sentenced in the Cook Islands High Court at Avarua by Justice Hugh Williams on Friday.
Raumea was convicted by Justice Williams on May 24 for driving with an excess breath alcohol level of 470 micrograms at Atupa on February 26 last year.
His conviction followed a two-day defended hearing before a jury and Justice Williams.
The 11-person jury found Raumea guilty of the charge but not guilty of drink-driving
causing bodily injury to Tupopongi Raeputa and Matangaro Taia in relation to the same incident.
Raumea (43), of Nikao, is bailed at large until his sentencing.
The maximum penalties for charges of driving with excess breath alcohol are one year in prison or a $1000 fine.
There is also a compulsory disqualification from driving and surrendering of drivers licenses for 12 months.
Last week crown prosecutor Catherine Evans indicated she would be seeking a monetary penalty, although it is possible a custodial sentence will be considered.
During the trial it emerged that Raumea had drunk three or four stubbies of Heineken prior to driving home on his motorcycle and crashing into another motorcycle on which two women were travelling. Both received superficial cuts in the crash.
Raumea took a plate of food the women had been carrying which had fallen on the road in the crash and drove away without rendering assistance.
For that he said he was embarrassed and sorry.
Also scheduled to appear before Justice Williams in the court this week is Ngatangiia resident Tiley Miriau for possessing cannabis, and court registrar and acting secretary of justice Claudine Henry-Anguna who is charged with being in contempt of court.
She denies the charge which relates to the payment by the court of rental money to landowners.
Justice Williams will also consider two parole board hearings before leaving for New Zealand on Saturday.
Police officer to face retrial
A retrial is to be held to decide if Cook Islands police officer Leighton Boaza is guilty of driving with an excess blood alcohol level.
Boaza appeared in the Cook Islands High Court before Justice Hugh Williams last week.
A hearing was held for the police appeal of a decision by Justice of the Peace Tiki Matapo who initially dismissed three charges laid against the police officer.
Matapo found the charges, of driving with excess blood alcohol, driving while under the influence of alcohol and failing to allow a medical practitioner to take a blood specimen, were not proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
His decision was appealed by crown prosecutor Catherine Evans on behalf of the police.
In the court last week Evans said JP Matapo had not properly considered all of the evidence for each charge and she could not ascertain the reasons for his decision to dismiss the charges.
Justice Williams, in looking at the case file, said JP Matapo had in at least one instance been wrong in applying a section of the law to his judgement.
Defence counsel Lavenia Rokoika said the appeal against JP Matapos decision should be dismissed in its entirety.
In the end Justice Williams dismissed the appeal in respect of the charge of failing to permit a blood specimen to be taken.
He allowed the appeal for the excess blood alcohol charge, and ordered a retrial for that charge accordingly.
It is not yet known when the retrial will take place, or who will preside over the court when it is heard.
The initial two-day trial against Boaza involved 16 prosecution witnesses including fellow police officers who testified Boaza had been drinking alcohol before he allegedly crashed a motor vehicle in Atupa.
Precedent-setting case back to court
The latest developments in a precedent-setting superannuation case will unfold in July.
The case, involving the Cook Islands National Superannuation Fund (CINSF) and Arorangi Timberland Ltd as well as the companys managing director Andy Olah, will be back in court during a New Zealand judges next visit to the Cook Islands in July.
Justice Colin Nicholson will hear the case when he next presides over the Cook Islands High Court at Avarua.
The case was last week discussed between all parties and Justice Hugh Williams in chambers at the Rarotonga court.
Justice Williams states in his minutes of the proceeding that affidavits have yet to be filed and all parties agree an adjournment to July is appropriate.
The precedent-setting superannuation case centres around whether the CINSF Act 2000 is in violation of the Cook Islands Constitution, and is likely to affect all businesses in the country.
In 2007 CINSF laid claims against a number of local businesses and their directors for the non-payment of contributions to the fund.
Charges were filed under the CINSF Act 2000 against seven defendants Arorangi Timberland Ltd, Beco Ltd, Cook Islands Dairy Foods Ltd, Manea Foods Ltd, Raina Beach Apartments Ltd, Raina Trading Ltd, and Super Brown Ltd.
Arorangi Timberland alleges the CINSF Act 2000 violates the Cook Islands Constitution, and it brought forward a test case in the court the outcome of which is likely to affect the outcome of the remaining six defendants cases.
Article 40 of the constitution states no property shall be taken possession of compulsorily, and no right over or interest in any property shall be acquired compulsorily, except . . . (in certain defined circumstances, and specifically requiring the payment of adequate compensation and affording a right of access to the court to determine the amount of that compensation).
Representing Arorangi Timberland, lawyer Tim Arnold says section 36 of the Act provides for the compulsory possession of property belonging to employers and employees, but that the trust deed set up under the act is not a law within the meaning of section 40.
He says contributions into CINSF do not constitute taxes within the meaning of the constitution.
The civil case was previously considered by Justice Williams in chambers on April 6.
Justice Williams states in a minute of the proceeding that it will take some time for the superannuation fund to get together the balance of affidavits it requires to progress the matter.
He says the other six defendants of the charges filed by CINSF in 2007 need the opportunity to participate in the case between the fund and Olah.
It is important that all points of view concerning the matters in issue to this proceeding be dealt with as part of this case, or at least those having a different point of view have the opportunity to participate in this case.
Vaka TV dispute decision reserved
Vaka Television founders Vina and Dave Reuther and Greg Parker (standing).
Justice Hugh Williams has reserved his decision in the civil court case between Christine Backer and Vaka Television Ltd.
He heard submissions from both parties in the Cook Islands High Court at Avarua on Monday.
Backer, an Australian national who has lived on Rarotonga for almost a year, claims she is owed $125,000 from the television company owned and operated by Dave Reuther, his wife Vina, and business partner Greg Parker.
Vaka Television disputes this, and says Backer has invested $105,000 in the company for which she received 20 percent of all shares.
Reuther and Parker say $20,000 was paid by Backer for an entirely separate enterprise and should not be considered in the civil court case.
They claim the $105,000 was not a loan, and there is no evidence to support the notion that it was to be repaid to Backer within any timeframe or at all.
Backer wants her money back so that she can cease all association with Vaka Television, Parker, and Reuther.
Last year she came to the Cook Islands in the understanding she would be sponsored for a work permit by Reuther to establish a restaurant and cafe business within his Tupapa premises.
Vaka Television and Chillis Sports Bar and Bistro are situated in the same building.
Following a personal dispute, Backer and Reuther refused to work with one another and Reuther tried to have Backer deported.
Backer wants Reuther to invalidate his sponsorship so she can work in the Cook Islands through a different employer.
She filed a petition in the court to have Vaka Television liquidated after a refund notice on the company was unsuccessful.
Both Vaka Television and Backer have failed to adhere to procedural requirements in respect of the court case.
There is little in the way of formal contracts between the two, and Mondays submissions by Backers lawyer Lavenia Rokoika and Vaka Televisions lawyer Heinz Matysik centred around what both parties believe they each agreed to initially.
Backer and Reuthers initial arrangements were made before Vaka Television was incorporated in August last year.
When incorporated the companys file showed $100 as the nominal share capital.
Rokoika says Reuther failed to disclose in any honest terms the share capital of the company before accepting Backers $125,000.
Rokoika claims Reuthers
dealings with Backer breach legal acts in respect of contracts and foreign investment in the Cook Islands.
She says as contracts and agreements entered into by Backer were illegal they should not be considered binding and Backer should have her money returned.
Matysik disputes this.
Justice Williams asked why Backer did not sue Vaka Television and Reuther, saying that may have been a more appropriate cause of action.
Matysik agreed that option may be more suitable than the procedure before the court.
He said Vaka Television wants to resolve the dispute with Backer but is not prepared to accept her payment to the company was a loan and is a debt owed to her.
Vaka Television was granted a five-year broadcasting licence on March 17, 2010.
Until Backer is released by Reuther from their employment contract, she is unable to be sponsored by any other individual to work in the Cook Islands.
Her status is being considered by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration, pending the civil court proceedings.